63 states to currently have endorsed the Safe Schools Declaration

Photo Sami Shamsan Save the Children .JPG
Photo: Sami Shamsan / Save the Children.

In the lead-up to the Second International Conference on Safe Schools which was recently held in Buenos Aires 28-29 March, Slovakia, France, Canada, Armenia, and Malta endorsed the Safe Schools Declaration. Belgium announced its endorsement at the Conference, with Andorra following shortly afterwards and becoming the 63rd State to endorse the Declaration.

Committing to Protect Students, Teachers, Schools, and Universities during War

Participants in the Second Interntional Conference on Safe Schools highlighted that the initiative concerns all states committed to the protection of education, whether they are directly affected by armed conflict or not. States that have not yet endorsed, were encouraged to do so.

So far, sixty-three countries have endorsed the Safe Schools Declaration, including the majority of both European Union and NATO member states.

The Safe Schools Declaration is an inter-governmental political commitment that provides countries the opportunity to express support for protecting students, teachers, schools, and universities from attack during times of armed conflict. It stresses the importance of continuing education during armed conflict.

The Declaration was developed through consultations with states in a process led by Norway and Argentina in Geneva in early 2015, and was opened for endorsement at the Oslo Conference on Safe Schools on May 29, 2015. Argentina has announced that they will host the Second International Conference on Safe Schools in Buenos Aires on March 28-29, 2017.

By joining the Declaration, countries pledge to restore access to education when schools are attacked, and undertake to make it less likely that students, teachers, and schools will be attacked in the first place. They agree to deter such attacks by promising to investigate and prosecute war crimes involving schools, and to minimize the use of schools for military purposes so they do not become targets for attack.

Norway calls on more states to endorse the Safe Schools Declaration, thereby joining the growing number of states who are acting to safeguard education, even in wartime.

The procedure for endorsing the Safe Schools Declaration is to send a letter confirming the endorsement, signed by a government official, addressed to a duty station (Embassy or Permanent Mission) of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or directly to the Norwegian Ministry’s Section for Humanitarian Affairs (To: seksjon.for.humanitaere.sporsmal@mfa.no, CC: Anne.Karine.Jahren@mfa.no).